Now that Call of Duty Black Ops III has been out for a little over a week, I can give my honest opinion on the latest drop in the franchise. Going through the campaign, zombies and multiplayer took a lot longer than I expected, but I'm also working on the Fallout 4 review and preparing for the Battlefront title drop later tonight. I am not a fan of speed running a title for a timely review, there are too many things to miss and you'll encounter an emptier experience along the way.
Getting right too it, lets kick this off with the campaign. I don't know too many gamers that purchase a Call of Duty title for its campaign, but I do know plenty that will play through the relatively short experience. Black Ops III offers an entertaining futuristic experience that should be played by anyone that owns the title. Starring Christopher Meloni (everyones favorite SVU cop right?) as our lead bad guy and technology as the accomplice, you'll find a well told story of how the future could unfold in one way or another.
It should come as no surprise that the campaign plays smooth with little to no hiccups. beautiful graphics, great audio and tight mechanics make this (roughly 5-6 hour) campaign worth a go. What really makes the campaign shine this time around is the ability to have up to 3 other friends play through the story with you online. Playing through the main story will unlock camos and what not for multiplayer weapons as well as a special unlock after completing the game. Completing the campaign will change things up a bit as enemy players are now zombies. This isn't zombies mode I'm talking about, this is a legit campaign unlock.
Another aspect to the BO3 title is Zombies mode. Considered a fan favorite ever since Treyarch introduced Zombies to their games, there are plenty of players out there willing to purchase a CoD title simply for the Zombie experience. A completely different storyline from the campaign, Zombies mode intensifies as players work together in a team of up to 4 (or solo if you please) through waves of the undead. With a 50's touch and tons of different avenues to go down while playing, these zombies aren't for the average horror gamer.
You'll find unique weaponry and storlyine behind this game mode and better yet you'll find a lot of cool players out there willing to help you through the levels as you learn to navigate the levels. Just be upfront with them in the beginning and you'll be surprised how willing others are to help. Go on a search for easter eggs or simply go for the kills, the choice is yours, but be sure to get in on the action for a seriously heart pounding time with an allstar cast.
Onto the deepest part of Black Ops III, the multiplayer. I'm gonna go out on the limb here and say upfront that the servers have had their share of issues since launch. While I can't directly pin point the problem as the servers themselves, I can say the "Lag Compensation" aspect is a mood killer. Anyone that pays for a decent internet connection and has to watch as friendly and enemy players skip around the screen would be just as aggrivated. Just keep in mind that its not you, when a player joins the lobby and has a horrendous connection, the servers will try and cater to that player by bringing your connection down to theirs. There have been other times where everyone seemed to have a great connection, but the servers were heavy and created lag within itself. When the servers are acting up, you just have to decide whether or not you want to risk being aggrivated, but the servers do seem to play smoothly more often than not.
When it comes to weapon balance, Treyarch nails it down pretty good. There have already been quite a few updates to the game that includes some nerfs and buffs and those didn't go overboard as we have seen time and time again in past titles. Bringing back the pick 10 system in create a class was nice to see, choosing what to run with and not being forced to carry anything you don't want is always a nice touch and really gives players the freedom of choice. The specialists you can choose from are like a bonus pick, you have the option to go with either an assault or support type specialist and depending on how you use them, every choice can have its advantage. My personal favorite is using the "Purifier" as it has a long range and is just plain old fun. I would choose Hive as my second favorite, the hive grenades stay on the map for quite some time so long as you stay alive.
We have thrust jumping this time around, similar to Advance Warfare's boost jump, the thrust is a smoother transition that keeps you moving steadily without the pause before a boost. One thing you won't find is thrust dodging, too many times I have tried to dodge with a slide and went right into enemy fire. I don't blame the game for my old habbits, instead I have a laugh and accept I still need to adjust. The new game mode Safe Gaurd seems to have mixed feelings coming from the community, while some players stronlgy believe in playing the objective and others are simply there to grab a higher K/D, you need to go into this new mode expecting exactly that. I have seen some players rack up as many as 150 kills in one match!
Sure you'll find some bugs and run into some lag, you'll find campers and quick scopers, you'll have moments where you just want to shut the game down and never look at it again, but you'll also have an experience like you haven't had in a long time. Aside from points of lag, you'll really have only yourself to blame if you aren't satisfied with your performance. This is one of the most balanced titles we've seen in years and the devs over at Treyarch have been hard at work to resolve any issues we have been running into. Not for nothing, but each time they have updated the game, it has gotten better and I can only imagine how much better it can get.
If you're a competitive player and interested in 4v4 matches, you can go into the Arena playlist for some serious matches. World League was introduced this year as the new competitive scene for BO3 and future titles. Exclusively played on the PS4 system, this entry into epsorts offers a league for "Pro" players as well as "amateur's" to rank up in the competition. If you think you and your clan are good enough, you could have the chance to compete in the world league championships and win some real world cash and gain a lot of recognition. Currently in beta, all world league stats will be reset in December and season 1 will begin and placement will be announced in January.
On a final note, if you have never been a fan of a CoD game, this probably isn't the one thats going to change your mind and I think thats as fair of a comment as I can give in those regards. If you're thinking about coming back to CoD after a long hiatus, be warned: Just because you were once good doesn't mean you will be good once again, at least not right in the beginning. Fact of the matter is, no matter how you have played CoD titles in the past, BO3 will force you to rehtink everything. Parts of an old strategy will work, but you're going to find that something somewhere will need to change about how you play. Of course if you strictly camp, I can't really say you'll need to change your strategy as thats about as simple as it gets. All in all, Black Ops III gets 2 thumbs up!